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Middle school renovations under discussion in Bath County

Bath County Public Schools / Ross Tarrant Architects

School officials said plans are in the works to update Bath County Middle School.

Steve Evans is the Superintendent of Bath County Public Schools. He said the current building was built in 1939, and as a result is very outdated and in urgent need of repair. It has issues with aging systems, along with needing new windows, a roof, and plumbing.

He added the Kentucky Department of Education issues a Kentucky Facilities Inventory and Classification report every year that ranks the commonwealth’s schools from worst to best. Bath County Middle sits at 173 out of 1,018.

Evans said the school board and community must act now to ensure the district’s students aren’t left without a place to learn.

“This building is failing. It’s slowly decaying. In probably about 10 years, the state will come in because it’s on that list again, of the worst schools, and say you know, ‘you can’t renovate it, you got to build it new’,” he said. “If they get to you can’t renovate it, they’ll eventually say you can’t have kids in it.”

The superintendent said the quoted total for renovations is around $20 million, while a fully new building would be somewhere near $32 million. Evans said the decision to renovate or build new is up to the school board.

The board has been discussing plans for the last few years, but it’s hard to get funding, said Evans. In 2022 and 2023, the board attempted to pass a "nickel tax” to raise money for construction but were met with opposition. This year, the proposed tax will be placed on the November ballot for a vote.

Evans said a complete overhaul of the building is what the district needs.

“These kids need a new building. They need a new middle school. Our staff deserve it, as well. The air quality’s not good. It’s just outdated, and if people went to other districts and saw where their kids are going and then came and saw where our kids are going, I think they would have a better understanding,” he said. “They just deserve better.”

Evans said board members were presented with 3D renderings of potential redesigns for the school at their regularly scheduled meeting this month. However, any actual renovations will be planned with input from staff and the board.